weasels?

lorihadams

Songster
11 Years
Sep 17, 2008
374
4
131
virginia
My mother in law surprised us by showing up from north carolina (we live in va) with 2 roosters. We were caught off guard and ran down to the store and bought a 10 x 10 dog pen and a tarp for the top. We had an old barrel that we filled with cedar shavings and went into the woods and found 2 trees that we could wedge into the wire for them to perch on. They were fine for a while and then we came out one morning and Buddy was gone, Clucky Jr. was dead with his entire head gone but body untouched. Buddy showed up a couple of days later, we were very excited! We want to build a nesting box to put in the pen because we just went and got 2 hens...Buddy was lonely
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. My grandmother says that it sounds like a weasel because a fox goes for the breast. We've seen foxes but never dealt with a weasel before. What should we do? We have some scrap lumber to make some nesting boxes for the pen but has anyone ever used a dog pen for their chickens? How do we keep the critters out? Any help would be appreciated...we are excited about having the chickens and my 3 year old even used his own money to buy the 2 hens. We don't want to lose them too. Thanks,

Lori
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
1,103
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
Welcome!

You'll need to wrap the kennel in 1 inch or less chicken wire all the way around and make a wire skirt to prevent animals from digging under it. Chicken wire alone is not good enough to keep out most pests so if you were to do a stand alone type enclosure, hardware cloth is often the way to go. Missing head sounds like weasel to me too. My guess is you'll want to be able to seal the birds into a wooden coop like structure in the pen at night with 1/2 inch hard ware cloth over any vents as they can go through very small holes.

About cedar, if it is in an enclosed space, the phenols from fresh shavings can irritate the linings of the airways and make birds and other small animals suceptable to respiratory infections. Pine is the safer choice for bedding.
 

fornese

In the Brooder
11 Years
May 22, 2008
34
0
32
Vanceboro
yes, most definitley weasles. They are absolutely ruthless. They go for the head and snap it off leaving the rest of the prey behind.
Use 1 inch chicken wire. Cover every area tightly to kep out everything. Sorry about your loss.
 

LilCobra

Hatching
11 Years
Aug 28, 2008
8
0
7
Yup, had the same thing happen. Lost 23 birds in one evening! Found bodies in the morning but no heads or simply a broken neck. Somehow the weasel was able to undo the latch and pry the door open enough to get in even with a rock in front of the door! I declared war and set a live trap for him. It took several days and several different kinds of bait. The sardines finally got him.

I am sorry about your loss also.
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lorihadams

Songster
11 Years
Sep 17, 2008
374
4
131
virginia
What is hard ware cloth and where do I get it? I know about chicken wire and I can get that at tractor supply co or home depot. My hubby is planning on building a raised coop with nesting boxes that will go inside the dog pen. We've been looking at plans and we are hoping to use some old pallets that he has been able to get from work. We also had someone give us some plywood. Our pen is in the woods behind our house and we are considering moving it into the yard so that it closer to the house. Thanks for all your help...I love this site!

Lori
 

fornese

In the Brooder
11 Years
May 22, 2008
34
0
32
Vanceboro
hardware cloth it like screened wire that has small 1/4 or less holes in it. It can be measured by how many squares per inch. for example. 8 per inch or 7, 6,5 squares per inch.
I use it to protect the inner covers of my bee hives to keep out other bees from robbing in the "back door". This stuff can be bought at a hardware store.
 

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